Sunday Best

Imagine you grew up in a strict Baptist home where cooking on Sunday was forbidden and where women were considered to have no future other than to be a man's helpmeet. What if you refused to accept your God-given place and ran off with a heroin addict? And just as you found your true love, the life you had dreamt of could be snatched from you? Robbi Neal was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 40. Faced with the possibility of an early death, she decided to write this memoir for her children. She details her life and includes her strict upbringing, memories of her eccentric gran and her abusive father. It is a story told with gripping immediacy that takes us through her many experiences: speaking in tongues; art school; theological school, where she was propositioned by a Jesuit priest; and her decision to leave the church. Sunday Best concludes with a devastating account of Robbi's diagnoses and treatment. Far more than a story of survival, this is both a spiritual and emotional journey told with great warmth, humour and courage. Robbi Neal lives in Buninyong with her husband Pete and their children. She has been a Baptist pastor, a welfare worker, an artist whose work at the Castlemaine Fringe Festival was banned by the Catholic Church, a single mother, a retailer and freelance writer. Sunday Best is her first book and was developed as part of the HarperCollins/Varuna awards program.